Wildlife Protection Act

Wildlife Protection Act
    • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 refers to a sweeping package of legislation enacted in 1972 by the Government of India. Before 1972, India only had five designated national parks. Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.

    • The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection - offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties. Species listed in Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower. Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences under this Schedule (i.e. they impose fines on the offenders).

    Definitions under the Act (Section 2)
    • "Animal" includes amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, and their young, and also includes, in the cases of birds and reptiles, their eggs.
    • "Animal article" means an article made from any captive or wild animal, other than vermin, and includes an article or object in which the whole or any part of such animal has been used and an article made therefrom.
    • "Hunting" includes
    (a) Capturing, killing, poisoning, snaring, or trapping any wild animal, and every attempt to do so
    (b) Driving any wild animal for any of the purposes specified in sub clause
    (c) Injuring, destroying or taking any body part of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, disturbing or damaging the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles.
    • "Taxidermy" means the curing, preparation or preservation of trophies.
    • "Trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive or wild animal (other than vermin) which has been kept or preserved by any means, whether artificial or natural. This includes:
    1. Rugs, skins, and specimens of such animals mounted in whole or in part through a process of taxidermy
    2. Antler, horn, rhinoceros horn, feather, nail, tooth, musk, eggs, and nests.
    • "Uncured trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive animal (other than vermin) which has not undergone a process of taxidermy. This includes a freshly killed wild animal, ambergris, musk and other animal products.
    • "Vermin" means any wild animal specified in Schedule V.
    • "Wildlife" includes any animal, bees, butterflies, crustacean, fish and moths; and aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat.
    • Hunting (Section 9): This section describes what constitutes hunting and the intent to hunt.Ownership (Section 40 & 42): Regarding ownership issues and trade licenses. Penalties (Section 51): Penalties are prescribed in section 51. Enforcement can be performed by agencies such as the Forest Department, the Police, the Customs and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Chargesheets can be filed directly by the Forest Department. Other enforcement agencies, often due to the lack of technical expertise, hand over cases to the Forest Department.

Last modified: Thursday, 29 March 2012, 10:27 PM